Tom Rhodes

Tom Rhodes
Full name
Tom Rhodes
Country
USA

Tom Rhodes (born January 14, 1967) is an American comedian, actor, host, and travel writer. When Comedy Central began in the early 1990s, Rhodes became the first comedian spokesperson they signed with. Much of his commercial success came during this time. He was later the star of NBC's Mr. Rhodes, Dutch Yorin Television's Kevin Masters Show starring Tom Rhodes and Yorin Travel. In addition to venues in the United States, Rhodes has also performed in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Jakarta, Bali, London, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, Lausanne, Vancouver, Stockholm, Sydney, Melbourne, Basel, Geneva, Copenhagen, Toronto, and Honolulu. His podcast Tom Rhodes Radio often features other comedians or people he meets while traveling. He writes for The Huffington Post Destinations section and often documents his travels on his YouTube page. He has released three comedy albums, the most recent being Colossus of Me in 2012, and two DVDs which feature his performances and interviews with locals across the world. Rhodes was introduced to stand-up at age 12, when his father took him to a local D.C. comedy club to see his Uncle Bob perform. Because Tom was wearing a Washington Redskins jacket, another comedian pulled him up onstage and interviewed Tom as if he were the Redskins football coach. He claims this was the moment he fell in love with stand-up comedy. He also idolized his favorite Uncle Bob, who influenced his sense of humor and the way he talked. At age 17, Tom took a fake ID and auditioned at the only comedy club in Orlando, The Funny Farm. Throughout his junior and senior years, he did shows every weekend in Orlando and branched out to one-nighters all over the state of Florida. After graduating from high school in 1985, Tom went on the road. At 19, Tom won "The Funniest Person in Central Florida" contest. The grand prize was the opportunity to perform at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, California. Rhodes had a chance meeting with Jay Leno at a jazz club called Cheek to Cheek in Winter Park, Florida. Tom was not old enough to get in the club at the time, so he waited by the backstage door for the opening act to walk out. When they did, he stuck his foot in the door and watched Leno's show through a crack in the curtain behind him. When the show was over, Leno discovered Tom and, impressed with his curiosity, took him backstage and let him ask questions about comedy and what it takes to be a comedian. Part of the advice Leno gave was that great comedians should be living in New York or Los Angeles to better seize performing opportunities on stage and TV. On his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Rhodes reminded Leno about this meeting, which Leno recalled. Rhodes took Leno's advice and moved to New York City. He spent, what he describes in interviews, as the worst year of his life living in Washington Heights "like a dog", with no money and very few comedy sets in the city. Instead, he was performing mostly one-nighters in New Jersey and Long Island. Eventually, he got a break when he was booked as a headliner at his first quality venue, the Punchline Comedy Club near Atlanta, Georgia. At 22, Rhodes moved to San Francisco, which he called "the Jerusalem of stand-up comedy", with the sole purpose of growing and strengthening his craft. At the time, San Francisco was a beacon for creative comics in the early 1990s. He became friends with other up-and-comers there, such as Margaret Cho, Dana Gould, Marc Maron, Patton Oswalt, and Greg Proops. During this time, Tom got noticed and began appearing on shows like An Evening at the Improv, Comic Strip Live, Caroline's Comedy Hour, and MTV's Comedy Half Hour. While in San Francisco, he performed as the opening act at concerts for James Brown and The Everly Brothers. Tom Rhodes is featured in the 2010 book ¬°Satiristas!: Comedians, Contrarians, Raconteurs & Vulgarians written by Paul Provenza, Host of Showtime's The Green Room with Paul Provenza, which features photos by San Francisco photographer Dan Dion. The book also includes interviews with George Carlin, Eddie Izzard, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone.